Against Gog (Ezek 39:1-39:2)

“You!

Son of man!

Prophesy against Gog!

Say!

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘I am against you!

O Gog!

Chief prince

Of Meshech

With Tubal!

I will turn you around!

I will drive you forward!

I will bring you up

From the remotest parts

Of the north!

I will lead you

Against the mountains

Of Israel!’”

As if one chapter were not enough, Ezekiel has another chapter about Gog.   Yahweh God, as usual, came to the prophet Ezekiel, the son of man. This time, he wanted Ezekiel to prophesy against Gog, who is now called the prince of Meshech and Tubal and not from Magog. Like in the last chapter, Gog was clearly an enemy of Yahweh. Yet Yahweh used him for his own purposes. Yahweh was going to turn Gog around and drive him forward from the remotest parts of the northern area. In fact, Yahweh was going to lead Gog against the mountains of Israel. The only possible historical basis for this Gog, might be the supposedly chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, two 7th century BCE kingdoms in Asia Minor of Turkey.

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Against Gog (Ezek 38:1-38:2)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

Set your face

Toward Gog,

Of the land of Magog.

The chief prince

Of Meshech

With Tubal.

Prophesy against him!’”

This section represents an example of apocalyptic literature. The emphasis in this type of literature is on a future that would be better compared to the sufferings of the present time. This thinking predominated in Second Temple Judaism after the return from the exile. This Messianic hope prefigured a future victory of good over evil. The prophet Daniel and the Book of Revelation or the Apocalypse are better examples of this apocalyptic literature. As usual, the word of God came to Ezekiel, the son of man. However, this time he was to prophesize against Gog. Who is this Gog? This is the first mention of Gog in the biblical literature, who clearly was an enemy of Yahweh. There appears to be no historical basis for this Gog from Magog. According to Genesis, chapter 10, Magog was descended from Japheth, the son of Noah. Here Gog is a person and Magog is the land where he comes from. However, in later literature they were usually combined into ‘Gog and Magog,’ perhaps due to the Septuagint Greek translation. Magog might have been a code name for Babylon. There were also other legends about Gog and Magog in the later Greek and Roman times. Both are mentioned in later Jewish and Muslim writings. Meshech and Tubal were 7th century BCE kingdoms in Asia Minor or present day Turkey. Gog appears to be the chief prince of these two kingdoms also.